Having an online presence can make or break a business – but many people find the concept intimidating. They assume that building a website or creating a social media profile will take a ton of time or cost a lot of money. But the fact is, those things can be fairly simple.
The real challenge is creating copy to fill in those pages. Some people just aren’t natural writers, and the thought of having to create several hundred words of copy is downright dreadful. Rather than put in the work, many just make up a bunch of copy to get it over with.
Needless to say, this is not the best approach. If you want potential clients to read your website, you not only need to write quality, error-free copy – but it needs to be engaging, too.
Keep reading for 10 common web copy mistakes you need to avoid so you can make the best impression possible:
Not being relatable
When you fill your copy with industry jargon and business-speak, you may think it makes you sound intelligent – but, really, it just makes you unrelatable. Unless your audience is full of industry experts, they’re not going to know what you’re talking about.
No one wants to do research just so they can understand the blog they’re reading. If you make it too difficult for your audience, they’re just going to move on to the next business that does get what they need.
Writing for the wrong audience
The number one rule when it comes to web content is “know your audience.” Whenever you create new content, keep in mind who you are writing for. For example, if your target market is young, college students, keep your tone conversational and fun. If it’s top-level executives, keep things a little more business-like. Nothing is worse than having a great product or service, but not being able to attract customers because you’re giving off the wrong vibe!
Don’t Use Flash
Flash is a computer program that shows mini movies – you likely know it as the annoying little animations that delay the opening of your emails or viewing of blogs. Most Internet users hate flash. It may seem high-tech and cool, but it’s really just a roadblock in getting to the content they really want to see.
Touting features, not benefits
When writing about your products or services, focus on benefits over features. Benefits show a potential customer how your product can help make their life easier, while a feature simply tells them how it works or what it looks like. For example:
Feature: Our remote-control car comes with batteries included
Benefit: Our car is ready-to-use out of the box, so you don’t have to keep your child waiting
See the difference?
The first thing web users see when they open your blog is the headline. If it’s not engaging or doesn’t effectively tell readers what your blog is about, they’re unlikely to continue interacting with your material. Make sure your headlines (and subheads) grab attention and get the reader hooked.
Not sure what constitutes a great headline? Use the free Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule to see if your title makes the grade.
Opening with “Welcome to my website”
In keeping with the above advice, you’re wasting time if you open with boring, stale phrases like this. Your blog isn’t the only place where headlines matter – the rest of your website is just as important. If you want visitors to check out your “About Me” or your “Products and Services,” make sure you use enticing copy.
Not utilizing keywords
Keywords and phrases make it easy for search engines to find you – and if you’re not using them, you’re likely missing out on a lot of potential traffic. Do a little research to find out what keywords your target audience is likely searching for, and them build them into your content. Just remember: don’t use too many, or you’ll get penalized!
Not including white space
No one wants to look at a giant block of uninterrupted text. Including some white space breaks things up and makes it easier for the reader to scan your content. Not sure what to do? Use short paragraphs, include lots of bullet points, and add in a few subheads!
Not writing exciting copy
Don’t forget: there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of other businesses out there competing for the same exact customers. You’re not going to land them with a boring website and bland blog. As a business owner, your job is to lure those prospects in – and then keep them reading. Every single sentence has to make them want to hear more.
Publishing without proofreading
We know–you just spent an hour and a half writing an 800-word blog and you are spent. The last thing you want to do is read through that content again. But as tempting as it is to hit that “publish” button, fight the urge. Set your work aside and come back to it a couple of hours later with fresh eyes – you’ll be surprised at all the errors you missed the first time.